MIT professor Hugh Herr developed the robotic PowerFoot, which helps below-knee amputees get back to an active lifestyle. The foot enables them to climb stairs, traverse ramps, walk fast, and exert a level of force comparable to that of a biological ankle. (Design News photo)
Wow, what a great slide show, Chuck and what an impressive lineup of technology. I'm particularly struck by how far prosthesis have come with technical advances like robotics and sensors enabling the device to mimic real human movement and to tie into the nerves for natural dexerity. Amazing what engineers are accomplishing.
I remember when I first graduated college in the early 80's nearly all of my peers were taking jobs with major defense contractors.The joke was, mechanical engineers made weapons.Civil Engineers make Targets.I really didn't like that joke and vowed to always work in industrieswhere technology advancements improve the human condition.After 30-some years, I admit I have spent some time in military contract work, but medical, automotive and communication have been my career.Seeing these latest prosthetics validates my earliest career choice.The Mechatronics interrelationship with human physiology and nervous system was once just a dream now being realized. Absolutely fantastic stuff.
Great slideshow, Chuck. That first one reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode I saw as a kid, where the lead character discovers to his horror that he's actually an android by picking at what appears to be a scab or something on his wrist, and peeling up his "skin" to reveal electronics underneath. Here's a photo from that scene:
I have actually used the EZ-IO device on several patients in cardiac arrest. As an EE and a paramedic, I am always amazed at the engineering marvels that enable me to do a better job as a paramedic. I am amazed at how easy, fast, and effective it is to use. It can be tough getting an IV started on a patient in cardiac arrest, especially when they are wedged in some very tight awkward space (if there are other EMS providers out there, you KNOW what I am talking about)! When trying to do advanced skills like intubation, IV's, medications, defibrillation, etc in the field, it's not as easy as on a nice clean emergency room bed at just the right height with plenty of light and manpower. Every second counts in cardiac arrest and this device is simple and fast! It may be a little nerve racking the first time you use it to "drill" into someone's bone, but when you see positive results from it the first time, you really learn to love it! It allows a LOT more IV fluid to run than I ever thought it would, and I have given a medication, done a few compressions, and seen EKG changes in a matter of seconds! EMS is becoming more advanced every day, and anything that makes the job easier and more effective is always appreciated!
Nice show Charles. I actually was fortunate enough to see Dr. Herr's keynote address at last year's Sensor Expo in Rosemount, IL. In Ann's recent article on Robots in operating theatres I had thought of Dr. Herr. Good to see him included in this. And yes the comment about the Twilight Zone highlights the neccessity of a vibrant 'arts' community to foster ideas that may some day become reality by influencing & inspirinhg young minds to higher goals!!
Charles, now a day's medical electronics becomes more complex in terms of technology and nearer in terms of usability. In hospitals, most of the common medical procedures are replaced by black box devices, which can perform at a faster speed and accurate diagnosis. I read that some research is going for artificial limbs, which are similar to biological limb having sensitivity.
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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